20 of our Sixth Formers have taken part in specialist training to become Reading Leaders to support and mentor Year 7 students with their literacy.
The students were introduced to the fundamentals of reading and given strategies to identify and remedy problems. The Sixth Formers will select different reading materials tailored to the ability and interest of their reading buddy.
The scheme has been running for several years at Brooke Weston but this year’s is the highest uptake for training with nearly 70 students volunteering. After five hours of training they also have to undertake a further five hours of reading tuition to earn a National Open College Network Level 2 qualification.
Mrs Childs co-ordinates the scheme at Brooke Weston. She said: ‘We found that it works in a number of different ways. It does improve the reading age by an average of about two years. It also helps with confidence in accessing the curriculum and approaching subjects as well. It also helps with their social skills in that the Year 7s develop a friendship with the Sixth Formers so therefore they are more confident.’
Student Caitlin King said: ‘We learned how to engage with students that have difficulties or who aren’t very good at speaking aloud. When I was in Year 7 I would have liked someone in the Sixth Form to read with me so that is why I volunteered for the scheme.’
Dan Webster from Year 12 added: ‘We ran through everything on the fundamentals of reading, the background knowledge and the grammar so we can identify where a student needs extra help. As soon as you build their confidence that will help across the board in other lessons and it means their grades will go up. It is a commitment of just half an hour a week.’
Diane Weatherby, Service Delivery Manager for Reading Matters, said: ‘The students have been interactive, keen to offer their opinions and we have had some really meaningful discussions. I think they will be fantastic Reading Leaders. We broke down the process of reading and talked about how to support, motivate and praise students. We watched some reading mentors in action and at the end they made some brilliant selections for their case studies where they had an outline of a young person and chose resources to match.
'Every Reading Leader will choose three different types of reading in every session, they may use newspapers, a piece of fiction or non fiction and usually end up with a word game at the end. It is supposed to be a fun and relaxed session but the Reading Leaders will be thinking very hard about the process of reading and how they are supporting it.’